Fork-tailed flower bees (Anthophora furcata) in the garden

In my garden, I have placed several logs given to me by a forester. Some of these logs are old and soft. Introducing dead wood into your garden is good for  wildlife as many invertebrates and amphibians find shelter underneath logs.

A species of solitary bee that nest in rotten wood is the fork-tailed flower bee, Anthophora furcata. It is a long-tongued species with a tongue of about 12mm.

With its long tongue, it can reach nectar which is hidden deep within the flower. Such flowers are for example hedge woundwort, Stachys sylvatica and black horehound, Ballota nigra.

Stachys sylvatica

Ballot nigra, a long-flowering native wild flower.

It is a fast flying species so it needs a lot of energy. The flowers mentioned above have high nectar rewards (unlike for example ox-eye daisies). Another plant they like is wood sage, Teucrium scorodonia.

Below a female collecting pollen from wood sage and you can see her pollen basket.

In my garden, all three plants are present and in good numbers. Bees love their plants in bulk so not the odd plant here and there but loads of the same species in one spot. This makes foraging efficient and bees have to be economical when collecting food as flying costs a lot of energy.

Fork-tailed flower bees are a rather scarce species so I am quite happy to see them year after year. It also proves that if you create the right conditions, the bees may come and perhaps even nest in your garden. Learn what the bees need and if you provide that, they may come and stay.

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About mybiodiversitygarden

Trying to raise awareness & share information about ecology and biodiversity and what gardeners can do to attract more wildlife
This entry was posted in amphibians, Bees, Biodiversity, Biology, Gardening, Gardening for wildlife, Nature, wild flowers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Fork-tailed flower bees (Anthophora furcata) in the garden

  1. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Great informative post and photos. I don’t think we have this solitary bee in Ireland, but the flowers you mention do occur and are probably important for other pollinators.

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